NYT Examines Temple’s “Cradle To Grave” Violence Prevention Program

Today’s New York Times takes a look at a Scared Straight-type program at Temple University Hospital, a violence prevention program called “Cradle to Grave” that has youngsters around the city look at graphic, gruesome pictures of maimed and dead gunshot victims—some of the 500 gun violence victims the hospital treats each year.

As the 13- and 14-year-olds gathered around a gurney on a recent visit, Mr. Charles told the story of Lamont Adams, 16, who died at the hospital after being shot 14 times by another boy who believed Lamont had snitched about a street dice game that was broken up by police officers.

Lamont arrived in the trauma bay with 24 gunshot wounds, 10 more than the 14 rounds that had been emptied into him, because some of the shots had also exited his body, in some cases leaving indentations in the sidewalk, Mr. Charles told the students.

In case his verbal description was not sufficiently vivid, Mr. Charles asked Justin Robinson, 13, to play the part of Lamont. The boy lay down on an empty body bag. Mr. Charles attached 24 circular red stickers to Justin’s clothing to represent the wounds in Lamont’s body.

Mr. Charles told the students that the wounds he finds most moving were those in the boy’s hands. “He holds up his hands and begs the boy to stop shooting,” Mr. Charles said. “He had not prepared himself for how terrible this would be.”

There is more, upsetting detail. But officials say it works: Data show that students who have been through the program are less inclined to violence. About 7,000 teens have participated in the program since it began in 2006.